In your country, what do you send as a gift on happy or sad occasion?
My student from US told me that a couple makes a wish list and guests choose and buy something from it. I think it’s very practical and efficient. But Japanese people never do this. We send money on both happy and sad occasion. Let’s see what to do in detail.
If you are invited to a wedding ceremony in Japan, you need to go to a bank even when you have much money in your purse. We usually bring 30,000JPY as a gift (called Go-shuugi) to the ceremony, and they should be new bills. You can exchange old bills to new ones at a bank. If a couple is your best friends or something and you want to give them more, it’s happily acceptable. You can give them 50,000JPY or 70,000JPY or more. But be careful. Do not give them like 40,000JPY or 60,000JPY. This may looks strange but you can’t give them even number of bills because 2 people can divide them. This fact implies divorce. So 41,000JPY is acceptable because it’s 5 bills.
After you prepared new bills, go to convenience store or department store to buy a special envelope. It’s called “Noshi-bukuro“. We use different kinds of Noshi-bukuro depending on occasions. Take a look at the picture below.
Colorful one (left) is for wedding, and black and white one (middle) is for funeral. The right one which bundle is a bow is for happy occasions that should happens again and again like baby birth. So it’s not suitable for a wedding. Write your name on the front with black-ink pen, hopefully a brush-pen (“Fude-Pen“) that you can buy anywhere.
On a wedding day, give Go-shuugi to the reception saying “Omedetoo Gozaimasu.” which means like “Congratulations!”
If someone passed away, we also bring money to a funeral to show our condolence. This money is called “Kohden”. Kohden is more than 5,000JPY. If close relations like relatives or immediate supervisor, you should give around 10,000JPY. And this also should be odd amount of bills. But different from Go-shuugi, Kohden should be old bills. Using new bills means expecting the occasion, so it’s unacceptable for a funeral. If you only have new bills, crease them. We use black and white Noshi-bukuro as I mentioned. Write your name on the front with grey-ink pen or Fude-pen.
There is also a reception at a funeral place, so give Kohden there with a bow. You don’t need to say anything.